Philander Chase



Download Full Text (4.0 MB)


Chase gives an account of his difficult travels through high water and heavy rain, and a carriage accident that left him with an injured knee.




Morgan's, Tuscarawas River, Rachael Denision, Dr. Denison, Sol, Cincinnatus, Samuel Chase, Free Port, Cadiz, Steubenville, Cross Creek, St. James Church, Mr. Morse


Cadiz 30 July 1831

My dear Wife:

You will think it strange that we have got on no further than this before (saturday morning): yet so it is. The roads were bad enough at best: but then you consider how heavily have been the rains and how long and high the hills were to receive their wash it will not surprize you that they were washed literally to pieces.

The second night after leaving home be slept at Morgan’s the last tavern on the Tuscarawas before you assend [sic] the hills for Cadiz, & while there it rained and poured all the time till nine or ten in the morning, so that the Inundation in the valleys between the High hills became very great and impeded our progress not a little.

I should have told you that in crossing the River at Coshocton the water came up higher than was expected & the clothes in the Trunks of Sister Rachael & our dear niece were sadly wet.

In coming up one of steep and long Hills the staple in one of the whipple trees came suddenly out: The carriage immediately ran back and the horse Sol went rapidly forward; these two opposite motions jirked [sic] me (who had fast hold of the rains [sic]) so directly & instantly forward that instead of lighting on my feet when striking the ground I came down on my knee. At first I thought of nothing but saving the carriage held now only by one horse from running down the Hill & over the precipice and thus with Sister Rachael in it from being dashed to pieces. Good Cincinnatus that faithful fellow as all the Teamsters at Gambier full well do know, now was our only stay under Providence who in the hour of extremity never hither to hath forsaken us. The Dr. & Saml. & Sarah who had on acct. of the steepness of the Hill gone up a [piece] now returned to my assistance and securing the wheels behind with large stones relieved the poor trembling striving faithful Horse. This done [our] Sister got out and all seemed for a moment safe. From the danger of others my mind now returned to the pain in my own body. The anguish on my knee was in a few minutes insufferable. I concealed my distress and going into the bushes on the sidehill I discovered the contusion just above my kneepan or rather the upper half of the kneepan to be very great. Already the blood began to rush in in [sic] the bruised place till it was black & the swelling the size of a hens egg. I bound round some leaves with my kerchief and resumed my place on the coach box, & the damage in the whipple tree having been repaired by our good Br. Dr. Denison we proceeded onward. The pain in my wound became more & more intense I stoped [sic] at a [place] about 6 miles ahead and got it bathed with campherated [sic] spirits. At night it was so stiff & swollen that could scarcly [sic] walk and pained me till moring. The Dr here made a decoction of tobacco and opium disolved [sic] in vinegar. This gave me some relief so that we went on. But O the ravages by reason of the flood of the rain sea Free Port. In the Ravines where the water had subsided the wash of the beaches & the wide spread of the flood wood was so great that we were obliged to go in search of a new path & cut our way with the Hatchet. And sometimes the water was so high that we were obliged to pick our truck up on logs built up behind the [coach] after the manner of a log cabin to keep our clothes from being wet again.

When we arrived here we formed that such had been the effects of the rains between Steubenville and this place Cadis that the mail had be forced to be carried on horseback; and that consequently there was no hope of my getting to Steubenville so as to hold Service there tomorrow.

“I’ll go to Cross Creek & officiate in St: James Church and send Mr. Morse word by the port to meet me there.” To aid this place Samuel who by this time is “quite well” (as you know he speaks it) volunteer[ed] to go ahead on our horseback and give the Wardens notice that they might [?] the news of this arrangement as far as possible. This morning I heard him with the servant mounting his horse under my window and then receiving his last direction to turn here to the right & there to the left gallop off in good speed.

We shall stay till we shall have breakfasted & then be off after Samuel. My knee is a little better:

Your faithful P. Chase

Letter to Sophia Chase



Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States